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San Francisco 7, Embarcadero 5, Chiu 3, Us 3, Lotus 1, Cio 1, Seaferz 1, Michael Burns 1, Farrell 1, Stein 1, Mr. Walton 1, David Pillpow 1, At&t 1, Mta 1, Paris France 1, New York 1, Boston 1, Seattle 1, Paris 1, Oakland 1,
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  SFGTV2    [untitled]  

    October 29, 2012
    3:00 - 3:30pm PDT  

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cohesive culture. the mayor has stated that has been implemented. i would like to say i hope that is implemented on in the next six months and demand accountability for budgets and deadlines and more cohesive culture and the sharing of work, so with that mr. chair you're going to do the findings and recommendations for the next one, but the only thing i would just like to say in conclusion is i know that this is a topic that touches a lot of nerves. there are a lot of folks working hard within individual departments, within department of technology and within the mayor's office to move us in a good direction and one thing i would like to state the recommendations i am recommending is no way pointing specific fingers anywhere, but i think that we have to have honest and real dialogue about what we need to do to move
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things forward and i have to tell you i hope this is the last time the civil grand jury has to come to the board to give a report like this and i appreciate the work you have done. we might not have full agreement in the solutions but i think we need to spend more time, both at coit and whoever the new cio is to figure out the next steps. it's my perspective and while we're capital of innovation it's really the private sector and i can't say a city government that puts lotus notes on my email system is capital of innovation in the public sector. i think many of the technologies are stuck in 1999 and unless we do this we will -- there will be future supervisors who will have larger binder of folders of additional reports and all the monies wasted and the efficiencies
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wasted and not taking the opportunity to move into a real 21st century government and i take we take this to heart and really work on, so in a few years we will truly win the seven awards that the department of technology received but we are a model for how we manage the technology for years to come and with that chairman. >> thank you president chiu. i want to thank all the departments that came to respond as well. i couldn't agree with more of the point of this report. obviously we have a lot of work to do. i am one of the members of the board of supervisors frustrated where we are with the technology here in san francisco and city government and i will say these challenges are not easy to solve but we're not doing our job on the board if we're not willing innovate and drive that
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home in house so i look forward to this continuing dialogue so we made a number of findings and recommendations. what i am going to do before making a motion i am open it up for public comment. if anyone would like to speak for public comment and we will have two minutes per person. >> great. david pillpow and i was watching this somewhere else and i know you were concerned there was no public comment on item one and i ran over. i have been a participant in coit and i have several points. i spoke back in february at coit and express the strong opinion it was time for mr. walton to be replaced as city cio and director of dt. that was a very strong recommendation. that was not something that i took lightly and apparently
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something that shocked a number of people and the responses speak on to that. i believe that position, head of dt, collaborative and build trust and if that happens those things will work better and the things run by the department will also work better and there will be that understanding developed but i don't think that's there now and i think that's the root of a lot of what you just talked about. i think coit itself meds to be more functional and really set policy and review policy for the city in terms of it, not
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just get reports after the fact of things that happened, deadlines that slipd, budgets that slipped and as a final example dt put out rfp for telecomaudit for the city's voice line. i don't believe coit knows about that. i don't know where that was in the budget. i believe there is city staff that could perform that function and ask them why don't they know where the phone lines are and i hope this gets better and i am happy to engage. >> thank you. anybody else want to speak on public comment on item two? seeing none public comment is closed. president chiu. >> i ask that we move forward the recommendations that i made. >> okay. we can do that without objection. >> again. thank you to everyone
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. >> thank you and before i call items three and four we will take a few minutes and stretch our legs. we have been here for two hours. thanks. (recess).
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>> welcome back everyone. welcome to the government audit and oversight committee. at this point madam clerk can you
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call item three and four. >> item three is a hearing and four is a resolution and to the investigation into the san francisco municipal transportation agency. >> thank you very much and back to the civil grand jury. thanks again. if you want to come up and we will hear item three. >> thank you very much supervisors. this time supervisor feral only about eight findings and recommendations. >> i made a good trade. >> yeah. and thanks for hearing about the san francisco municipal transportation agency and switchbacks and behalf of the grand jury and the chair of make the report and assisted in the report. >> thank you very much. >> thank you supervisors. i am sharon gadbury a member of the
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2011-2012 grand jury and chair of the better muni service needed without sich backs report. i would like to thank chairman farrell and supervisor chiu and agencies for taking time to read and respond to our findings and recommendations. i want to thank you also the presiding judge of the superior court and martin choy the acting foreperson and the grand juries that have worked so hard over the one year term. members were selected to be motivated competent and diverse but we all had one thing in common. we love san francisco and we want it to be the best city it can be. when the jury discussed and voted on this muni investigation we deliberately chose to focus
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on the practice of switchbacks rather than try to investigate the whole transportation system which i think will make you happy today. we in factually suspected and later convinced that the way muni was using and justifying switchbacks as a tool to regulate service -- that's in quotes, was a blatant breach of the public's trust. the schedules are a promise made by muni to the riders and switchbacks break that promise. we disagree emphatically with the words of muni executive director and passengers have no right to expect that muni's vehicle will complete the route they're riding on announcing muni has no obligation whatsoever to follow the routes
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it has advertised to riders is brazen statement disavowing the moral and legal obligations of the transportation system. we believe that the muni schedules are a legal and moral contract between the system and its riders and breaching the contract violates the trust of the riders and their ability to rely on the system to carry out their daily lives in the city. and using switchbacks as a tool muni is deliberately violating rider trust deciding one group of passengers who are riding a bus or train must disrupt their trip and disembark and wait for the next one so the vehicles don't clunk or another line can carry more passengers. in order to smooth traffic the bus or train leaves the route. it's
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two fold. it eliminates the late bus or train that is actually causing the clumping and so slow it's in way of the others on the line and it improves the on time record because the slow bus or train is no longer operating. it's great for muni. not so great for the left behind passengers. we're not sure when muni decided to deploy operational switch backs in its system but in early 2011 muni passengers began to complain about switchbacks that left them strandd and waiting on strange platforms in the city. according to their own statistics about 41,000 riders a month were left on the street
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because of switchbacks. we were told switchbacks were implemented in the absence of clumping whenever a bus or train was needod another run. this means that the abandoned riders walk to their destination or waited often in the cold and dark and possibly rain until another bus or metro car arrived. we were shocked and amazing to learn as far as muni officials were concerned this provided after overall benefit to passengers because the vehicles were being deployed where they were needed most. plans for the future of muni included more switchbacks, not fewer as muni now claims. what makes this report more germane is the fact that is muni's 100 anniversary to commemorate the mile stein they adopted the logo "the people's system". it
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seems if you're going to be the people's system you need to live up to this on lofty label. my fellow jurors that worked on the report will focus on the findings. the first findings find that the switchbacks violate the san francisco charter and guarantees safe and reliable transit service to riders. i won't ask to you raise your hands but just thinking how many of you have taken muni in the last week, or ride muni regularly. if you have and if you do you're probably still subject to switchbacks and understand how deeply the experience can under mine your trust in the system. our fellow juror who was planning present today had to leave due to another appointment, and so i'm going to read her report because i think it's important if you're not a
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muni rider to understand the whole switch back and what the experience is, so she has had since april -- since actually muni has said they have discontinued or cut back on switchbacks she has been subject to three of them even though she's not a regular muni rider. these are descriptions of her experiences. in early april i boarded -- by the way her name is gene and i will be reading hers. at some point the driver announced something on the pa system. the sound had static and he had an accent and i couldn't understand what he said and the other riders didn't show great concern. when he began
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announcing again i asked a later near me and she wasn't sure but maybe getting off on 36th avenue. i road to 26th avenue where my car was and stopped at 36th avenue and had all the passengers, 25 -- not an age but number, get off and stand in the rain to wait for another car whichn 't in sight. another time i recall being involved in a switch back i boarded a train at at&t park when the giants were home and playing. hey giants. i got off at the embarcadero station to wait for out bound in bound train. when i looked at the schedule board it said the next one would be 45 minutes. there were several people waiting and we continued
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to wait as 2m and 2k cars and j and t cars went by. i realized those with me were also waiting for n car. i called three one one which is a wonderful efficient customer service related system. i was given someone i was told taking calls related to muni. he said he knew nothing about a delay in n cars had he had not been informed or received calls about any delay. as he was checking in and an inbound n car went past me towards the ballpark and the cal train. i told that to the three one one operator and by the time it came back to the embarcadero station after being by the ballpark and the people waiting patiently except for me at the embarcadero station would do well to get on the train
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much less get a seat. he was a pol gettic and he assured me he noted my call. within five minutes an out bound train came in to the embarcadero station empty. the schedule indicated it would be more than 30 minutes to the next out bound train and by the time this train got to powell street station it was full and more people each stop after. since the three one one operator knew nothing about a problem and meant all those people didn't call because they didn't expect to get any better service. number three, another more recent time i boarded in train at third avenue and the signage said it was only going to church street. i got on and the driver said in a clear voice on a clear pa system that the train would go only to church
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street. at every stop he informed the new passengers that boarded. i thought this is great. everything's working as it should. if they do a switch back. when we got to church street the train was full with many people standing and we were told to get off and go oat another means of transport. i was one of the last to get off and some people started getting on. i told them this train is not going to the embarcadero. they replied "it is". they changed it. at this point more than half of the passengers were gone and the train left embarcadero with half of the passengers and most had gone on to seek other means to the embarcadero or the ballpark. when i ask people about switchbacks they all know
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and say it's a common occurrence. when muni says they rarely use switch back it's incredulous. they feel it's a common experience in their muni experience as it is mine. now we will switch back to me. what i want to say one of the main findings in the report is the fact that out of all the transit systems we interviewed only one used switchbacks as muni does to -- >> can i interrupt you and ask you about that? >> yes. >> perhaps i missed it, but can you talk a little bit about the other jurisdictions that you spoke with? >> you know what we're going to have in jack's report -- he's going to talk about how we chose the other jurisdictions. >> great. >> and jack and i interviewed them together and some of the other jurors joined in on the interviews but our selection was based on the controller's report that compared systems
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and we selected the list from the controller and contacted those systems. we were also told that all of the systems in europe use switchbacks as a tool, so we took advantage of a vacation to contact three systems in paris, and speak to representative who knew about those three systems. we then confirmd that interview in a phone call with some emails. >> great. >> so let's have jack come up because he can talk to you about the story of our interviews, why we conducted them and some of the information we got from
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those interviews. >> thank you. and as sharon mentioned when we do our interviews we have two people present and make records of them, so in doing so to continue we spent ten months of our subsequent investigations investigating the muni. during this time muni management continued to insist that using switchbacks as a traffic smoothing tool was good for the majority passengers, yet digging deeper the civil grand jury discovered in fact that the muni had no evidence one way or another about the use or abuse of switchbacks. this was because as many managers repeatedly told us switch backs are commonly and frequently used in other transportation systems around the world. according to one manager" they're part of transportation 101 and a
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basic tool for traffic". did they spend up buss and trains? did they make service more reliable? as it was clear muni was not interested in our investigation we asked muni officials for names of the other systems that use switchbacks for other emergency situations. they respond they couldn't name such systems and they didn't need to because they knew for a fact "all other systems use switch backs in this way". after hearing the same answer for the ten months of our investigation we were taken aback in august, 2012, just a few months ago, to read in the newspaper that muni reported that they interviewed five other systems and found that they all
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used switchbacks to smooth traffic. in september of 2011 we decided if muni would not provide us with other transit agencies to speak to we would have to find them ourselves. fortunately the san francisco controller did a study and comparing muni to five other systems these cities included boston, seattle, new york, oakland and san jose or santa clara mta. they all had higher scores than muni. muni was on the bottom. we included bart. since they said other systems did it we decided to look at the systems in paris france. it took months to identify the right officials and in this case either the head of operations or the systems
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schedulinger all but one which was new york agreed to an extensive interview by two of us and per the rules we were not identified. nevertheless of the interviews as described in the report were significant. all transit systems it became clear had multiple systems that were similar and had challenges and all needed to deal with complex traffic, scheduling, and terrain problems uniquely their own, and yet as we had known the san francisco controller's survey had shown all had higher reliability and rider seaferz than muni and we determined that all systems use switchbacks they only did so in cases of equipment break down or
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emergencies except for one. one system which happened to be the santa clara mta does use switch backs and interestingly enough their head is the former employee of muni, michael burns, who was a former employee and went to work for them. as you supervisors may remember he was the one that took bonuses for all sorts of things he really wasn't able to do for muni and increasing time and got these bonuses. what also struck us was the amazement of the operation officers if they employed switchbacks? what we heard over and over again are the comments that swism backs were an insult to riders. they also pointed out that switchbacks couldn't speed up traffic because of the time boarding and deboarding. what struck home was the attitude of the managers in their own
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system. in virtually all cases they took responsibility for ensuring the responsibility of the system and work improve their services and rider surveys and constantly adjusting their schedules. i under line that. constantly adjusting their schedules. virtually everyone told us schedules was the most effective tool and many felt the additional time to load and unload vehicles slowed service. the managers that we interviewed also volunteered that the daily actions and programs taken guaranteed that service was reliable and all were under surkaled budgets and these solutions need to be cost effective. we were impressed with the cado attitude of management and staff and